COMMENTARY | Every time I think I've read the most ludicrous arrest story, another comes along to prove me wrong. Shannon Cooper was arrested for disorderly conduct in South Carolina for cheering for her daughter at South Florence High School's graduation, WPDE NewsChannel 15 reports.
Parents were warned they would be escorted out if they cheered, a violation of free speech. If we tolerate foul language and hateful diatribes as First Amendment rights, it's unconscionable to take those liberties from people cheering for graduates.
The graduations at our local high school are always loud, festive cacophonies. Parents, family and friends shout, yell and blow air horns. At our children's graduations, my mother cheered so loud she almost fell off the bleachers. And the students cheered for each other, too. That's what people do at celebrations. If parents at our school were told to can it, there would be a public outcry.
What's the point of curtailing graduation cheering? So it takes a little longer to read through the list of names. Graduation is a momentous occasion.
The real jaw-dropper is Cooper was jailed and fined $225. If school officials felt the need to keep the ceremony cheer-free, they could have made people leave the building. Even that would have been a bit reactionary. But arrests for being happy? There's no lesson to be learned here and no point to arresting people.
Fining them is even worse. It sounds like an excuse to put money in public coffers to me. What's next? Fines for laughing in public?
- Crime & Justice
- South Florence High School